By Cyril Josh Barker
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
Black citizens in the southern New Jersey city of Bridgeton continue to demand answers for the police shooting of a Black man who clearly had his hands up, as seen on a dash cam video.
Reports indicate that demonstrators marched to City Hall in Bridgeton over the Dec. 30, 2014, police shooting of 34-year-old Jerame Reid. Protesters planned to disrupt a City Council meeting.
However, because of having to go through metal detectors at City Hall and being held up, few were allowed to speak during the public session of the meeting. Council President Jack Surrency announced that a public meeting will be held on the topic at a later date.
Tensions have been running in the city after a video went viral of Reid putting his hands up before officer Braheme Days, who is Black, fatally shot Reid. Days claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle Reid was riding in.
Protesters say that while they were on their way to the City Council meeting, they were detained by police and given summonses. One woman said hers was scheduled for the same day as the next City Council meeting. Another woman, Felicta Cox, said during the public session that there is a fear of police in the community among Black men.
“Look around the room,” Cox said, according to reports. “Our young Black men are afraid to come out and speak because they’re afraid they’re going to get locked up.”
Another woman called what happened to those protesting who wanted to speak “harassment,” with others saying their constitutional rights were violated.
Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly vowed that he will meet with anyone who has concerns about violence in the city.
Meanwhile, more is being learned about Reid’s relationship with law enforcement. Reports indicate that he had a lawsuit against Cumberland County involving assault allegations. At the time of his death, Reid was seeking $100,000 from the Cumberland County Department of Corrections over allegations that in 2009, he was punched, kicked and pepper sprayed and had a bucket of cold water poured on him while in a county jail cell.
Reid said that because of fears of retaliation, he told a nurse that he was beaten by other inmates. He suffered broken ribs, a fractured left orbital bone and nerve damage to his face.